I have been teaching writers for years and one of my best pieces of advice when they are stuck on their plot has always been ‘take the dog for a walk’. It is amazing how many plot tangles are resolved when you are out with the dog with nothing else to think about.

Ironically, I did all this without owning, or ever really liking, dogs, a legacy I think of teenage days as a newspaper delivery boy in the back streets of Darlington when I kept being chased!

Now that we live on a Scottish hillside, though, we do own a dog and, do you know, it really does work. I have been struggling with the final stage of a Jack Harris novel I am writing and all the problems have been resolved while walking with Ivy along the lanes and through the woods near our home.

Interestingly, long before we owned a dog, I created DCI Jack Harris and made him a dog-lover, which is the central theme in To Die Alone, in which he confronts illegal dog fighters.

Book details: Murder, animal cruelty, and vigilante justice drag DCI Jack Harris out of his quiet rural idyll.
The hunt for a missing man turns up a body deep in a forest in northern England, but it is difficult to establish whether he was killed by a falling tree, or murdered. When the victim’s dog is also found dead, Detective Jack Harris is called in to investigate.
The man’s links to known criminals immediately raise suspicion about his death, especially when one of the names is that of a notorious villain with whom the detective has had several previous encounters. But Harris’ obsession with bringing him to justice might well distract him from the facts of the case, and with the superintendent insistent on results, the atmosphere in Levton police station is as fraught as it has ever been.
Can Harris put aside his personal feelings and focus on the facts before him? Or will his desire for revenge let a resourceful killer off the hook?
Like the other books in the series, Dead Hill, The Vixen’s Scream and To Honour the Dead, To Die Alone is set in the fictional town of Levton Bridge, nestled among The Pennine Hills, a remote landscape in the north of England. A traditional murder mystery but with contemporary themes of wild-life crime, DCI Jack Harris is joined once more by his sidekick Matty Gallagher, ever longing to escape the rural idyll to his beloved London, and Alison Butterfield, the eager, young, but ever-bungling junior detective.
You can buy the book at https://www.amazon.co.uk/DIE-ALONE-Gripping-Detective-Inspector-ebo...

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